Rochester, New York - Encyclopedia

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ROCHESTER, a city and the county-seat of Monroe (disambiguation)|Monroe county, New York, U.S.A., about 70 m. E.N.E. of Buffalo and about 230 m. W. of Albany, on the Genesee river, 7 m. above where it empties into Lake Ontario. Pop. (1880), 89,366; (1890), 133,896; (1900), 162,608, of whom 40,7 4 8 were foreign-born (including. 15,685 Germans; 7746 English-Canadians; 5599 Irish; 3909 English; 1777 Russians; and 1278 Italians) and 601 were negroes; (1910, census) 218,149. Rochester is served by the Erie, the Pennsylvania (two divisions), the Lehigh Valley, the West Shore, the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg (two divisions), and the New York Central & Hudson River (five divisions) railways. The Genesee river, which cuts through the centre of the city in a deep gorge whose banks vary in height from 50 to zoo ft., is navigable for lake craft only for 22 m. from the mouth, to a point 41--. m. below the city; the Erie Canal runs through the heart of the city and is carried across the river on a stone viaduct of seven arches, 850 ft. long, and having a channel 45 ft. wide. Several lines of freight and passenger steamboats connect with Buffalo, Oswego and other lake ports, and there are daily passenger steamboats to Toronto, Canada, 70 m. distant across the lake. Electric railways connect with neighbouring cities and lake-side resorts on Lake Ontario (Ontario Beach) and Irondequoit Bay, an irregular arm of the lake 5 m. long 2 m. E. of the city limits. Rochester is on high plateaus on either side of the Genesee river at a general altitude of about Soo ft. above sea-level. It occupies an area of 20.3 sq. m. Within the city limits are the famous Falls of the Genesee,' three cataracts of 96, 26 and 83 ft. respectively, the banks above the first fall, which is in the heart of the city, rising to a height of fully 200 ft. above the river. From the city limits the river falls 263 ft. in its 7 m. course to the lake. Ten bridges, road and railway, connect the two sides of the river.

Rochester is an attractive city, with many fine avenues. East Avenue is perhaps the most beautiful street in the city, and Plymouth, West and Lake Avenues are other prominent residential streets. The park system of Rochester, planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, was 1264 acres in extent in 1908. The largest park is Eastman-Durand (512 acres), on the shore of Lake Ontario; Genesee Valley Park (443 acres) is on both sides of the river; Seneca Park (212 acres) includes a zoological garden; Highland Park (75 acres) and eleven other smaller parks. In Washington Park there is a soldiers' monument surmounted by a statue of Lincoln, and a statue (1898) by S. W. Edwards of Frederick Douglass, the negro orator and editor, who lived in Rochester in 1847-70, stands at the approach to the New York Central & Hudson River railway station. The principal cemeteries are the Mount Hope, the Holy Sepulchre, and Riverside. The Powers Building, a 7-storey stone and iron structure surmounted by a tower 204 ft. high, was one of the first office buildings in the United States to be equipped with elevator service. The Monroe County Court House (of New Hampshire granite) on West Main Street is in the Renaissance style, and contains a law library of about 25,000 volumes. The City Hall (of grey sandstone) has a tower 175 ft. high. Among the other prominent buildings are the Post Office, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lyceum Theatre, the Temple Theatre, the Masonic Building, the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg office building, the Sibley building, the Duffy-Mclnnerney building, and the Young Men's Christian Association building. The following churches are architecturally noteworthy: the Central, the First and the Third Presbyterian, the Brick Presbyterian, St Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic), the Cornhill and the Asbury (Methodist Episcopal), the First Baptist, St Paul's (Protestant Episcopal), and the First Unitarian. Rochester is the see of a Roman Catholic bishop. In Rochester are the Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, the Monroe County Penitentiary, a State Arsenal, a State Hospital for the Insane, the Protestant Episcopal Church Home, Rochester City Hospital (1864), and others, including the Rochester Municipal Hospital (1903) for contagious diseases and consumption.

Rochester is an important educational centre. Its bestknown institution is the University of Rochester (Baptist, 1850; co-educational since 1900), having in 1908-9 28 instructors, 352 students (231 men and 121 women), and a library of 49,000 volumes. It occupies a tract of 24 acres 1 From the top of the upper falls (96 ft. high), in the centre of the city, Sam Patch (1807-1829) jumped and was killed in November 1829; he had formerly made the same leap, had jumped half the depth of Niagara, and was planning to go to London and jump from London Bridge - he was to go by sailing packet to Liverpool and jump from the yard-arm every fair day.

on University Avenue in the eastern part of the city. With it is connected the Ward Museum, containing the valuable geological and zoological collections of Henry Augustus Ward (1834-1906), an American naturalist, professor of natural sciences here in 1860-75, who had in Rochester a laboratory for the manufacture of plaster-casts of fossils, and who prepared natural history cabinets for many museums. Much of the success of the university was due to Martin Brewer Anderson (1815-1890), president from 1853 to 1888, and David Jayne Hill (b. 1850), who was president from 1888 to 1896, and subsequently was assistant secretary of state in 1898-1903, and minister to Switzerland in 1903-5 and to the Netherlands from 1905 to 1907, when he became ambassador to Germany. Rochester Theological Seminary (1850) is also under the control of the Baptist Church, but has no organic connexion with the university of Rochester. Its library of 36,500 volumes includes the valuable collection (650o vols.) of the German church historian, Johann August Wilhelm Neander. Other educational institutions include St Bernard's Theological Seminary (Roman Catholic; 1893); Wagner Memorial Lutheran College (German); Academy of the Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic), &c. One of Rochester's most noteworthy institutions is the Athenaeum and Mechanics' Institute (an outgrowth of the Rochester Athenaeum, established in 1829); it was founded in 1885 by Henry Lomb, of the Bausch & Lomb Optical Co., and has a large building, the gift of George Eastman (b. 1854), of the Eastman Kodak Co. It has an endowment of $650,000, and more than 60 instructors, and in 1907-8 more than 5000 students were enrolled. Since 1907 public school buildings have been used as club-houses for community civic clubs with libraries and gymnasiums; and in 1909 a League of Civic Clubs was organized. Besides the law library and the libraries of the educational institutions mentioned above, Rochester has the Reynolds (Public) Library, containing more than 65,000 volumes in 1910.

The Falls of the Genesee provide a valuable water-power, early utilized by the flour-milling industry, of which, owing largely to the nearness of the fertile wheat-fields of the Genesee Valley and the transportation facilities furnished by the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario, as well as to the water-power, Rochester was for many years the most important centre in the country. Flour-milling is no longer so important an industry here, but Rochester ranks high among the great manufacturing cities of the country, holding third rank in this as in population in New York state, and is remarkable for the great size and output of several of its manufacturing plants, which are the largest of their sort in the United States or the world. In 1905 the value of the city's factory products was $ 82 ,747,37 0, an increase of 38.7% since 1900. In value of product and in number of wage-earners employed the manufacture of men's clothing stood first; the value of the product was $14,948,703, or more than 18% of the total value of all the city's manufactures; and 20% of the factory wage-earners in the city were employed in this industry. The second industry in 1905 was the making of boots and shoes, of which the value was $8,620,011, an increase of 24.3% since 1900. In the value of clothing and in the value of boots and shoes manufactured Rochester ranked seventh among the cities of the United States in 1905. In the manufacture of photographic apparatus and materials and optical goods Rochester easily holds first place in the world, and it has the largest establishment for the manufacture of cameras (the Eastman Kodak Co. at Kodak Park) and the largest manufactory of lenses, telescopes, opera and field glasses (Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.). The total value of the photographic apparatus in 1905 was $2,886,071, which represented 82.9% of the product value of photographic apparatus manufactured in the entire United States, and was 176.1% more than in 1900. Photographic materials amounted in value to $4,528,582, 47.4% of the total value of the product of the country. The value of the output of this industry was 2100% more in 1905 than in 1900. Another remarkable increase was shown in the value of electrical machinery and apparatus, which was only $15,000 in 1900, but in 1905 was $2,078,360. Flour and grist mill products in 1905 were valued at $3,222,257. In Rochester is an immense refinery of lubricating oil, and the oil product more than doubled in value between 1900 and 1905. Other important manufactures, with the value of their product in 1905, are as follows: foundry and machine-shop products, $2,874,142; furniture, $2,364,859; tobacco, cigars, snuff, &c., $2,234,531 malt liquors, $2,173,707; confectionery, $1,512,611; lumber and planing mill products, $1,495,229; carriages and wagons, $1,229,570; and stationery goods, $1,130,873. Rochester is also the nursery gardening centre of the United States. The first nursery, that of Ellwanger & Barry, now one of the largest in the world, was established here in 1840. There are now more than a score of large nurseries, representing an investment of several millions of dollars, and annually shipping seeds, bulbs and plants having an approximate value of $2,000,000. Rochester is the port of entry for the Genesee customs-district, importing Canadian lumber and wheat and exporting dairy, garden, farm and orchard products. In 1909 its imports were valued at $1,809,746 and its exports at $1,360,367.

The government of Rochester is that of cities of the first class (the state census of 1905 showed that it had more than the 175,000 inhabitants necessary for a city of the first class under the New York state law). The city owns its water supply system, the supply being obtained largely from Hemlock Lake, 30 m. S. of the city limits. The value of the plant is approximately $8,000,000. Rochester is famous for the purity of its milk supply, which is regulated under a strict system of supervision and inspection.

The region about Rochester, when first visited by Europeans, was the home of the Seneca Indians. The Jesuits, Peter Joseph Marie Chaumonot (1611-1693) and Jacques Fremin (d. 1691), worked among the Indians in the neighbourhood. In 1687 the marquis de Denonville fought a battle with the Iroquois near the falls. In 1710 there was a French post on Irondequoit Bay. The district was included in the PhelpsGorham Purchase in 1788. It was not until Ebenezer Allan (called "Indian Allan") built a saw and grist mill at the falls in 1790 that a small settlement began to grow up. In 1802 a large tract of land, which included the site of the present city, passed into the hands of three Maryland proprietors, Charles Carroll, William Fitzhugh, and Nathaniel Rochester (1752-1831). Rochester, from whom the city took its name, was a native of Virginia, had been a manufacturer at Hagerstown, Maryland, and after settling in Rochester in 1818 was a member in 1822 of the New York Assembly. He established a settlement, largely of New Englanders, at the falls in 1810-12, but its growth was slow as it was not on the direct road between Albany and Buffalo, and the region was malarial. It was known at first as "The Falls" or "Falls Town." In 1817 it was incorporated as the village of Rochesterville, the name being shortened to its present form two years later. In 1820 it had only 1502 inhabitants. In 1821 Monroe county was erected with Rochester as the county-seat. The real growth of the place began with the completion of the Rochester and Lockport section of the Erie Canal in 1823, and in two years the population had about doubled. Rochester was first chartered as a city in 1834, with 12,000 inhabitants. Rochester's first newspaper, the Gazette, was established in 1816, the Telegraph following in 1818. The first daily newspaper was the Daily Advertiser (1826). Between 1828 and 1830 Rochester was the centre of the anti-Masonic political movement, and here Thurlow Weed published his Anti-Masonic Enquirer. Subsequently it was a centre of the abolitionist movement in New York state; Myron Holley (1779-1841) began here the publication of his Freeman in 1839, and in 1847 Frederick Douglass established the North Star. For many years before the Civil War it was a busy station of the "Underground Railroad," by which fugitive slaves were assisted in escaping to Canada. In 1846 Miss Susan B. Anthony settled in Rochester, and the city has been a gathering-place for advocates of women's rights. Here lived the Fox sisters, Margaret (1836-1893)1893) and Katharine (b. 1839), whose spiritualistic demonstrations became notorious about 1850 as the "Rochester Rappings," and the city has been a gathering-place for American spiritualists also. The narrowness of the gorge through which the Genesee river runs has always rendered the city liable to disastrous floods. Several of these in its early history practically destroyed the manufacturing industries along the river, but the loss of property in the more recent ones has been relatively less; that of 1865 entailed a loss of more than $1,000,000, and in that of 1902 the damage exceeded $1,50o,000.

See William F. Peck, History of Rochester and Monroe County (2 vols., Chicago, 1908).

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